Egyptians Religious Beliefs
Egyptians in their religious beliefs held the view that the Pharaoh was an incarnated God upon Earth. The Egyptians believed in life after death, which is why they created elaborate coffins, perfected embalming techniques and built wondrous final resting places. They believed after you died, your soul would be weighed against a feather to determine your goodness. The Egyptians viewed the Gods as aspects of the Supreme Creator.
Gods and Goddesses
Description: A singing Goddess.
Rules Over: Music, song, voice, arts.
Description: A moon God.
Description: Earth god.
Rules Over: Earth, fields, poisons, anecdotes, weaving.
Amaunet – Other Names: “Wife of Amen”.
Description: Goddess of Heaven.
Amen – Other Names: “Amoun, Amun, Amon, Ammon, Hidden God; Great Father.”
Description: Phallic deity sometimes pictured with the head of a ram and other times pictured as a man with a crown with two tall straight plumes.
Rules Over: Reproduction, fertility, generation, wind, air, prophecy, agriculture.
Ament – Other Names: “Amenti, “The Westerner”, Hidden Goddess.”
Description: Goddess of the Underworld. “Consort of Amen”.
Rules Over: She greeted all dead people to the land of the dead with bread and water. If they ate and drank, they could not return to the land of the living.
Description: Fire God.
Rules Over: Fire.
Description: A singing god.
Rules Over: Winds, song.
Description: A lion god.
Description: Goddess of Milk Cows.
Description: Dawn God.
Anhur – Other Names: “Anher, Anhert”.
Description: Official God of the Nome Abt and its capital.
Rules Over: War, Sun and the sky.
Anubis – Other Names: “Anpu, Sekhem Em Pet”.
Description: Messenger from the gods to humans. Always shown as the head of a jackal or dog, or as a dark colored jackal. He, with M’aat, weighed human souls for truth.
Rules Over: Wisdom, intelligence, death, embalming, endings, truth, justice, surgery, hospital stays, finding lost things, anesthetics, medicine, journeys, protection, boats, diplomacy, astral travel, cemeteries.
Anqet – Other Names: “Anuket, Anukis, “The Clasper”.
Description: Water Goddess of the Nile Cataracts. Her symbol was the cowry shell. Always shown as a woman donning a tall plumed crown; also, has been depicted as having four arms.
Rules Over: Producer and giver of life, water.
Apep – Other Names: “Apophis”.
Description: Demon enemy of the Sun. Shows as a snake.
Rules Over: Darkness, storm, night, the Underworld, death, eclipses.
Description: Mother Goddess, nursing mother.
Apuat – Other Names: “Upuat”.
Rules Over: Pictured as Anubis is except he is white or gray instead of black. He guides souls to their place of rest after their hearts are weighed against the feather.
Description: Messenger God.
Description: Fire Goddess.
Rules Over: Fire.
Description: Fire God.
Rules Over: Fire.
Description: Goddess of the Winds.
Description: Water God.
Description: God of Gifts.
Auf – Other Names: “Euf Ra”.
Description: Aspect of the Sun god Ra. Always shown as a “ram headed man wearing the solar disk”.
Rules Over: Peace, rest, sleep, courage.
Description: Goddess of Nurses and Children.
Description: Goddess of the Soul.
Description: A Hawk Goddess.
Ba-neb-Tetet – Other Names: “Banebdedet, Banaded”.
Description: A ram god.
Rules Over: Discussion, arbitration, peace.
Bast – Other Names: “Bastet, Pasht (Dark aspect)”.
Description: Cat headed goddess, mother of all cats, and wife of Ptah. Bast held a sistrum in her right hand and a basket in her left. “Usually shown wearing green”.
Rules Over: Cats, animals, Fire, the Moon, childbirth, fertility, pleasure, benevolence, joy, jokes, sexual rites, music, dance, protection against disease and evil spirits, warmth, intuition, healing, generosity, marriage.
Bes – Other Names: “Lord of the land of Punt.”
Description: A guardian God He was pictured as a leopard skin clad dwarf with a huge head, prominent eyes and cheeks, a curly beard and an open mouth with his tongue sticking out. Sometimes he was depicted playing the harp or tambourine.
Rules Over: Luck, marriage, music, dance, childbirth, cosmetics, female adornments, humor, happiness, protection.
Buto – Other Names: “Uajyt, Uatchet, Utchat, Per Uadjit, Uazit, Uto, Uraeus”.
Description: Cobra Goddess and ancient protector of Lower Egypt and the Delta town of Uadjit. Shown as a cobra (sometimes winged) sometimes and at other times as a woman wearing a vulture headdress and the red crown of the North. She held papyrus scepter twined with a long snake.
Rules Over: Protection, hiding from evil.
Description: Very fat man with pendulous breasts, dressed like a boatman with a narrow belt around his huge belly.
Rules Over: the Nile, crops, fertility, water, prosperity.
Hathor – Other Names: “Athor, Athyr, Het-Hert, Hat-Hor, Het-Heret”.
Description: Cow headed goddess or a human-headed woman with horns, cow’s ears and heavy tresses.
Rules Over: Joy, love, pleasure, flowers, the sky, moon, tombs, motherhood, beauty, marriage, cosmetics, singers and dancers, merry-makers, beautiful women, artists, artistic works, vine and wine, ale and beer, happiness, music, song, the dance, weaving garlands, good times in general, Nature, physical comforts, protection, astrology, prosperity, jewelry, strength, the arts, family.
Heh – Other Names: “Neheb”.
Description: Shown as a squatting man wearing a curved reed on his head. “God of Infinity”.
Rules Over: Eternity, longevity, happiness.
Description: God of the East Wind.
Heqet – Other Names: “Heqtit, Heket, Hekat”.
Description: Frog-headed goddess.
Rules Over: Creation, childbirth, fertility, corn, resurrection, protection.
Description: A Singing God.
Description: God of War and the Chase.
Description: Goddess of Dawn’s Light.
Horus – Other Names: “Heru SA Aset”.
Description: Falcon-headed Sun and sky god. “Pictured as fair skin, blue eyes”.
Rules Over: Prophecy, war, revenge, justice, success, problem solving, the Sun, music, the arts, beauty, weapons, family, home.
Description: God of Taste.
Description: God of the West Wind.
Imhotep – Other Names “I-Em-Hetep”.
Description: Deified human hero who later became a god. “Son of Ptah”.
Rules Over: Study, knowledge, learning, medicine, healing, embalming, physicians, sleep to heal suffering and pain, magick, compassion, drugs, herbs.
Isis – Other Names: “As, Aset, Eset, Tait”.
Description: Supreme Egyptian Goddess. Pictured with dark hair, blue eyes, fair skin.
Rules Over: Marriage, domestic life, the Moon, motherhood, fertility, magick, purification, initiation, reincarnation, success, womanhood, healing, spinning, weaving, advice, divination, civilization, agriculture, the arts, protection, advice, patroness of priestesses.
Kekui – Other Names: “Keku”.
Description: God of the hour before dawn. Bringer in of the light.
Description: Goddess of the hour after sunset. Bringer in of the night.
Khensu – Other Names: “Khons, Khonsu”.
Description: Wore a skullcap topped by a disk in a crescent Moon. His head was bald except for a scalp-lock tress of a royal child. His body was swathed tightly, and he held a crook and flail.
Rules Over: Exorcism, healing.
Khepera – Other Names: “Khepra, Khepri, Khephera”.
Description: Scarab beetle god of creative energy and eternal life.
Rules Over: Moon, exorcism, healing, new beginnings, gentleness, literary abilities, miracles, compassion.
Khnemu – Other Names: “Khnum”.
Description: Ram God pictured with a ram’s head and long wavy horns holding a scepter and ankh.
Rules Over: Arts and crafts, fertility and creation, gentleness.
Description: A Bird Goddess.
Description: God of sight.
M’aat – Other Names: “Maa, Maut, Mayet”.
Description: Depicted wearing an ostrich feather on her head while standing/sitting on her heels holding a scepter and ankh.
Rules Over: Truth, right, justice, law, final Judgement of human souls, order, divine order, reincarnation.
Description: A Lynx Goddess.
Description: A Lion God.
Description: Helps the deceased climb into heaven.
Mehueret – Other Names: “Mehurt”.
Description: Universal Mother Goddess.
Rules Over: Night.
Menthi – Other Names: “Menthu-Ra, Mentu, Mont”.
Description: Sun god pictured with a bull head. Wore a solar disk and two tall straight plumes on his head and carried a khepesh. Husband of Rat-Taui.
Rules Over: Protection, war, vengeance.
Description: Cobra Goddess.
Description: A Blacksmith God.
Meshkent – Other Names: “Meskhenet”.
Description: Images of her were sometimes depicted on two bricks on which Egyptian Women crouched during child birth. Shown as a woman wearing two long palm shoots which were curved at the ends.
Rules Over: Childbirth, rebirth.
Min – Other Names: “Minu, Menu”.
Description: Wore a crown with two tall straight plumes and held a flail in his right hand behind his head.
Rules Over: Fertility, crops, sex, harvests, roads, journeys, patron of the desert and travelers.
Montu – Other Names: “Monthu, Menthu”.
Description: Falcon-headed war God also represented by a griffin.
Mut – Other Names: “Sky goddess who wore a vulture headdress. Sometimes winged”.
Rules Over: Marriage, creation.
Description: Serpent God of the Underworld.
Rules Over: Death, cursing, vengeance.
Neith – Other Names: “Neit, Net, Nit”.
Description: Usually shown aside Selqet, as mummy guardian and protectress of marriage. She wore the red crown of Lower Egypt and in her hands held a bow and two arrows.
Rules Over: Herbs, magick, healing, mystical knowledge, rituals, meditation, weaving.
Description: Guardian goddess shown in vulture form hovering over Pharaoh, holding the flywhisk and the seal. As a woman, she was depicted wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt or a vulture headdress. She carried a scepter with a serpent twined around it.
Rules Over: Motherhood, childbirth, protection.
Totemic Form: Vulture
Nekhebet was usually represented in Egyptian art as a vulture or a woman with the head of a vulture, but sometimes she was depicted as a woman wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt (southern Egypt).
Nekhebet spent much time at the palace, where she suckled the royal children, including the pharaoh. When the pharaoh was grown, she accompanied him in battle, hovering over his head in the form of a vulture.
She was closely associated with her sister Uadjet, the cobra goddess, and together they were known as the Nebti. As a pair, they represented cycles of birth and death, beginning and ending. In the illustration here, Nekhebet and Uadjet are guarding the Eye of Ra, the Utchat. Nekhbet is wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt and Uadjet is wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt.
Description: God of Grain and Prosperity of the barley and emmer wheat crops.
Nephthys – Other Names: “Nebt-Het, Nebthet, Nebhet”.
Description: Underworld Goddess who represented life and death. Wife of Set. Mother of Anubis. Pictured as fair skinned with green eyes. Shown as a woman with long winged arms stretched in protection; sometimes carrying a basket on her head.
Rules Over: Death, dark magick, guardian of hidden things, mystical things, protection, invisibility or anonymity, intuition, dreams, peace.
Totemic Form: Vulture
Nephthys was the personification of darkness and all that belongs to it. She was the daughter of Nut, sister of Isis, and wife of Set. Nephthys was one of those present at the assessment of the souls in the underworld, standing next to her sister Isis behind the throne of Osiris. Her headdress is a combination of the hieroglyphs for “lady” and “house”, meaning “lady of the mansion”.
When her husband killed Osiris, Nephthys went to aid her sister Isis. They governed the country together, and when Isis found the body, Nephthys helped her reassemble it.
If you plan to do a portrayal of Nephthys, here are some suggestions:
Wear a green costume.
Nephthys is frequently depicted, as shown both above and to the right, as having a house perched on top of her head.
Ancient Egyptians believed that the gods guided and directed the natural forces of the mind and body, and each god or goddess was responsible for protecting a part of the human body. Nephthys was responsible for the lungs.
Description: Goddess of Strength.
Description: The primal water.
Description: God of the Primal Ocean.
Nut – Other Names: “Nu”.
Description: Sky goddess, personification of the heavens, sky, clouds and stars.
Rules Over: Reincarnation, weather.
Totemic Form: Cow
Ra asked Nut to raise him into the heavens to remove him from the world, which he found distasteful. Carrying him on her back, Nut rose upward, but the higher she reached, the dizzier she became. She would have crashed to the ground if four gods had not steadied her legs and while Shu held up her belly. These gods became the four pillars of the sky, and Nut’s body became the firmament, to which Ra attached the stars.
Description: Tanned complexion and fair hair. Sometimes shown standing, sometimes seated on his throne, tightly wrapped in mummy garb, his freed hands on his breast holding the crook and flail. Sometimes his face was shown as green. On his head he wore a high white miter flanked by two ostrich feathers.
Rules Over: Fertility, harvests, commerce, success, initiation, death and reincarnation, water, judgment, justice, agriculture, crafts, corn and vegetation, grains, religion, architecture, weaving, ceremonial music, civilization, composing rituals, codes of law, religion, power, order, discipline, growth, stability.
Description: A cat goddess.
Description: A goddess of birth.
Description: Goddess of Sunrise.
Description: God of Light.
Ptah – Other Names: “Ptah-Neb-Ankh”.
Description: Skull wrapped in a headband and his body enclosed in mummy cloth. His hands were free and held a scepter, ankh, and Tet.
Rules Over: Life, regeneration, crafts, builders, designers, metal workers, stone workers, engraving, carving, sculpting, all handcrafts, architects, masons, gentleness, miracles, science, manual skills, the arts.
Ra – Other Names “Re, Phra”.
Description: Had many forms: Royal child sitting on lotus; as a man head topped with the solar disk surrounded by the sacred asp; as a man with a ram’s head; as a man with a falcon’s head.
Rules Over: Agriculture, Sun, Magick, prosperity, spells, rituals, destiny, right, truth.
Rat – Other Names: “Tat-Taiut, Rait, Rate”.
Description: Woman wearing a disk with horns and a Uraeus.
Rules Over: Wisdom, knowledge.
Description: Goddess of Knowledge.
Description: A Fish God.
Description: A Cow Goddess.
Renenet – Other Names: “Renenutet, Ernutet”.
Description: Woman with serpent’s head or serpent wearing the solar disk. Sometimes shown as a lion headed woman or wearing the plumes of M’aat.
Rules Over: Children, luck, justice.
Description: Wore a long palm shoot above her head.
Rules Over: Youth, springtime, the year, general idea of time.
Description: God of Time.
Description: Goddess of the Harvest, shown as a cobra. Present during childbirth and decides how long the child will live.
Rules Over: Harvest, childbirth, life.
Description: God of touch.
Sati – Other Names: “Satet”.
Description: Shown as the Archer, holding a bow and arrows.
Rules Over: Fertility, the hunt, planting, water.
Seb – Other Names: “Geb, Keb”.
Description: Fertility Earth God.
Rules Over: Fertility, new beginnings, creations, crops.
Sebek – Other Names: “Sobk, Suchos, Sobek”.
Description: Lord of Death. Crocodile God.
Rules Over: Cursing, dark magick.
Seker – Other Names: “Sokar, Socharis”.
Description: Guardian god of the door to the Underworld. Pictured as a greenish hawk-headed mummy.
Description: Wore red garments.
Rules Over: Strength, might, violence, cultivated lands and fields.
Sekhmet – Other Names: “Sakhmet”.
Description: Lioness headed Goddess. She represented the destroying power of the sunlight and was crowned with a disk and coiled cobra.
Rules Over: War/battle, physicians and bone-setters.
Totemic Form: Lioness
Sekhmet, known as “The Powerful”, was portrayed as either a lion or a woman with the head of a lion, often holding an ankh or sistrum. She was the wife of Ptah and mother of Nefertum. On the battlefield, Sekhmet embodied the strength and bravery of the lion, expressing unbounded delight in the prey that fell to her.
As the sun god Ra grew older, he became fearful of his enemies and asked Hathor to help him. She took on the job with a vengeance and turned into Sekhmet, the lioness goddess, and seemed to enjoy the killing. Ra then worried that she would wipe out the entire human race, so he had red dye mixed in ale and spread about the land. Hathor, thinking it was blood, drank it and became so intoxicated that she forgot her assignment and humankind was saved. Pacified by the beer, she resumed her persona as the beautiful Hathor and returned to Ra.
Selqet – Other Names: “Selket, Selquet, Selchis, Serqet”.
Description: Shown as a woman with a scorpion on her head, often with raised winged arms.
Rules Over: Marriage, happiness, sexual love.
Totemic Form: Scorpion
Selkhet was the wife of Ra. She aided Isis, Nephthys, and Neith in guarding the canopic jars of Osiris.
Selkhet was also a protector of marriage.
In art, Selkhet appeared as a woman with a scorpion on her head, as a scorpion with a woman’s head, and sometimes as a scorpion holding an ankh.
When Apep participated in an attack against the sun god Ra, he was defeated and sent to the underworld. Selkhet was given the duty of guarding him. Because Apep was bound with chains, Selkhet became known as the goddess who binds the dead with chains
Seshat – Other Names: “Sesheta”.
Description: Pictured as a woman wearing a star on her head, reversed crescent and two long straight plumes. Later, the crescent was replaced with two long down turned horns. Record keeper of the gods and keeper of the inventory of the pharaoh’s enemy loot.
Rules Over: Writing, letters, archives, measurement, calculation, record-keeping, hieroglyphics, time, stars, sky, history, books, learning, inventions.
Set – Other Names: “Seth, Seti, Sutekh, and Suti”.
Description: Reddish-white skin and bright red hair.
Rules Over: Hunger, thirst, thunder, storm, suffering, revenge, cursing, death, dark magick, darkness, evil, destruction, chaos, foreigners.
Description: God of Hearing.
Shai (male) – Other Names: “Shait (female)”.
Description: Sometimes a goddess, sometimes a god. Role like guardian angel, presiding over destiny and fate. One was born with each person and at death gave a true account of that person’s life and deeds, misdeeds.
Description: God of wine.
Description: Air god. In human form with ostrich feather on his head.
Rules Over: Heat, dryness, air, winds.
Description: God of the Perceptive Mind.
Description: Goddess of Weaving.
Description: Primal earth mother, more like grandmother of grandmother. The earth’s core, continents, etc. She is distant and understands the cycles of life and death fully.
Rules Over: Life, death, stability, order, strength.
Ta-Urt – Other Names: “Tauret, Apet, Opet, Taueret, Taurt, Thoueris, Rertrertu, Taweret”.
Description: Hippopotamus goddess. Pictured as a female hippo with hanging breasts, standing upright and holding a plate of rolled papyrus.
Rules Over: Childbirth, maternity, nursing mothers, revenge, protection.
Totemic Form: Hippopotamus
In childbirth, Taueret suckled and protected the newborn. In the underworld, she carried the deceased toward a new destiny. In art, Taueret appeared as a hippopotamus standing on her hind legs with pendant breasts, sometimes with the back of a crocodile and the feet of a lion. In her role as an avenging deity, Taueret had the head of a lion and the body of a hippopotamus, brandishing a dagger, and sometimes carrying a crocodile on her shoulders.
Tefnut – Other Names: “Tefenet”.
Description: Lives at the bottom of the Underworld, who was fed by a group of Underworld Gods.
Rules Over: Moisture, dew, rain, mist.
Totemic Form: Lion
Tefnut helped support the sky, and each morning received the sun on the eastern horizon. She was one of the “great nine” who sat in judgment of the dead. She was considered the goddess of the second hour of the night of the fourteenth moon.
In art, Tefnut usually appeared as a lion-headed goddess with a solar disk on her head, or as a woman, or as a lion.
In the mythology of Heliopolis, the first event of creation was the emergence of the god Atum from the chaotic wastes of Nun. He gave birth to his son Shu by spitting him out, and to his daughter Tefnut by vomiting her forth. Shu and Tefnut were brought up by Nun and looked after by Atum’s Eye. Atum had only one eye and it was physically separable from him and independent in its wishes. Shu and Tefnut became separated from Atum in the dark wastes of the waters of Nun. Atum sent his Eye to look for them and eventually Shu and Tefnut came back with the Eye. While the Eye had been searching for them, Atum had replaced it with another, much brighter one. The original Eye was enraged with Atum when it returned at finding it’s placed usurped. So Atum took the first Eye and placed it on his forehead where it could rule the whole world he was about to create.
Once, Tefnut left Egypt and went to live in the Nubian Desert. Ra was lonely and sent the baboon Thoth to ask her to return to Egypt. She came back and there were great celebrations in all the temples.
Temu – Other Names: “Tem, Atem, Atum”.
Description: Personification of God in human form and of the setting Sun. He was the father of humanity and he helped the dead. In one of his forms he was worshipped as a huge serpent. Considered complete within himself, he was the sum of everything that existed.
Rules Over: Peace, help, rest.
Thoth – Other Names: “Tehuti, Thout, Djehuti, Zehuti”.
Description: Invented hieroglyphics and numbers. First and greatest of magicians. Inventor of the 4 laws of magick. His two wives were Seshat and Nehmauit. He had powers greater then Osiris and Ra.
Rules Over: Magick, writing, inventions, the arts, divination, commerce, healing, initiation, music, prophecy, tarot, success, wisdom, medicine, astronomy, geometry, surveying, drawing, sciences, measurement of time, all calculations and inventories, archives, judgment, oracles, predictions, rituals, the law, astrology, alphabet, mathematics, speech, grammar, arbitration, balance, mental powers, the Moon, botany, theology, hymns and prayers, reading, oratory, arbitration, peace, advice, learning, books, truth, Akashic records, the moon, fate, arbitration, advice.
Description: Cobra Goddess of North Egypt, “Green One.”
Totemic Form: Cobra
Sometimes you’ll see her name spelled Wadjet, Wazit, Ua, Zit, or other ways.
Uadjet’ s original home and chief cult center was in the Delta marshes. As her sister Nekhebet was the motherly protectress of the pharaoh, so Uadjet was his aggressive defender. When Isis was hiding in the swamps with her baby Horus, Uadjet came to help her protect him.
In art, Uadjet appeared as a cobra, sometimes winged and crowned, and sometimes as a snake with the face of a woman. She was the Uraeus (cobra-shaped symbol of sovereignty) that appeared on the headdresses of the Egyptian pharaohs. She figured prominently in the coronation ceremony and in the underworld, where she endowed justice and truth and destroyed the enemies of the deceased. Uadjet was the goddess of the 5th hour of the 5th fifth day of the moon.
Uadjet’ s sister was Nekhebet, and together the two were known as the Nebti. See also the entry for Nekhebet
Description: God of Existence.
Description: A star goddess.
Unta – Other names: “Unti”.
Description: God of Light.
Description: Goddess of the 27th day of the month.
Description: Water God.
Description: Goddess of the Moon.
Description: God of Embalming.
Description: God of the 29th day of the month.
Wepwawet – Other Names: “Upuaut, Ophis”.
Description: God of the Underworld, pictured as wolf-headed. Often dressed as a soldier.
Rules Over: War, protection, defense, martial arts, journeys.